On Friday, a US judge blocked the implementation of a Trump administration rule that would make it easier for employers to deny health insurance that covers birth control.
Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the Federal District Court in Philadephia issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the rule from being enforced until further court proceedings take place, reports the New York Times.
Under the Affordable Care Act, known by all as Obamacare, almost all employers are obliged to provide coverage of all birth control methods approved by the FDA, without co-payments or deductibles. It was a sweeping and controversial mandate that today provides access to free birth control to 55 million women.
In October, the Trump administration announced a new rule that would essentially revoke that access for many women by giving employers the right to opt out of birth control coverage on the grounds of religious or moral objection.
In pushing the legislation, Trump made good on his promise that, “we will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.” Federal officials estimate that at least 31,700 women will lose coverage if the regulation is implemented.
Thanks to Friday’s ruling, Trump’s initiative will face an uphill battle. Judge Beetlestone asserted that the Affordable Care Act did not allow for such sweeping exemptions to cover preventative services. She also found that federal officials had not properly consulted with the public before announcing the initiative, a requirement of the Administrative Procedure Act.
The order will maintain the status quo — coverage of birth control — until a trial can take place. Challenges to Trump’s new regulation have also been filed in California, Massachusetts, and New York.
Do you think employers should be allowed to opt out of offering birth control benefits? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty; Illustration by Marisa Kumtong/Brit+Co)